Murcia is a city in south-eastern Spain. It is the 7th largest city in the country according to Wikipedia, but not many people outside the area have heard of it. I lived there for two years. Work brought me reluctantly to this city, but it’s charm made me fall in love with it hard. It has more of a village feel than a big city feel. People still say hola when they cross your path in a parking garage or entering an elevator. Not much tourism happens in Murcia, so english is not a priority. Which was annoying for me at first, who spoke no Spanish, but I came to realize that it was a blessing in disguise. It forced me to learn how to communicate in Spanish much faster than I would have had I been spoken to in english.
Like every part of Spain, Murcia has its distinct culinary heritage as well as its own dialect. In general, Spaniards would refer to something with a Murcia style or from Murcia as Murciano. The Murcianos, however, would refer to it as Murcianico, hence the name of this “dish”.
Firstly, I want you to keep an open mind as you read this. It may sound like a weird amalgamation of things and textures, but it is truly delicious.
- Plain salty chips (Good quality)
- Anchovy stuffed olives (in water, out of a can)
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Place the chips in a shallow bowl. Strain the can of anchovy stuffed green olives and dump onto the chips. These are olives packed in water, not oil. Take a slice of lemon and squeeze the content over the chips and the olives. Serve with a freezing cold beer. Eat with your fingers.
The chips get soggy in some spots, stay crunchy in others, and are addictive all over. The anchovy flavor, and smell, is strong, but is cut and mellowed by the fresh lemon juice. The salty base is the perfect contrast to the tangy, fishy topping. Sometimes they skip the olives and simply squeeze some lemons over good quality salt chips. I turned my nose up at this concoctions the first time I saw it too. But now I can’t image anything better with a cold beer during the Murcia summer.
This probably evolved from the fact that lemons are in abundance in Murcia, and that flavored chips are almost nonexistent in Spain.
Warning: Do not attempt to order this concoction in any other part of Spain, they probably do not know it exists. I have friends in Seville that laughed at me for a solid 10 minutes when I asked for this at a bar in Seville.